Generally, employee recognition has historically involved formal acknowledgement for long-term contributions or periodic rewards for especial efforts. This is done in recognition of how long workers have stayed with their company or to raise morale by selecting a few employees as the employee of the year, month, or quarter.

According to 20-year total rewards and employee engagement veteran Debra Corey, such rewards are still relevant, but are fast becoming lacking. This is becoming increasingly true amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which is demanding more in-the-moment and frequent points of recognition and gratitude.

In today’s world where bad news can be found at every turn, good news is something, including employees, is clamouring for; whether it’s celebrating healthcare workers, COVID-19 survivors or employees who are doing their best, Corey explains.

Workers around the world are working harder than ever to help their employers stay financially secure during the pandemic, while also dealing with each of their own personal struggles due to the severity of the crisis. Employers and HR leaders should make the effort to recognise their efforts.

Steve Pennachio, senior vice president of total rewards at Pfizer, predicted that recognition and bonus programs will change and increase in prevalence and importance because of the crisis. “People want to know they are appreciated for their efforts,” Pennachio said.

Such recognition stalwarts as bonuses, monetary awards and gifts are important, especially while many employees struggle financially due to COVID-19, but so are simple acknowledgements like e-cards, emails, calling out employees for their hard work during team meetings and simply saying thank you.

Corey notes that employee wellbeing and recognition are directly co-related and predicted those components will remain linked moving forward.

“Think about your employees’ wellbeing; recognition is a really important part of wellbeing. If you’re having a bad day and you don’t get recognized for another month or two until you finish a project, that’s not having a good effect on your wellbeing. One kind word can change a person’s day,” said Corey.


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